betray

verb
be·​tray | \ bi-ˈtrā How to pronounce betray (audio) , bē-\
betrayed; betraying; betrays

Definition of betray

transitive verb

1 : to lead astray especially : seduce a nation betrayed into violence a teenager betrayed by a much older man
2 : to deliver to an enemy by treachery was betrayed to the authorities by one of his students betraying one's own country
3 : to fail or desert especially in time of need betrayed his family felt that she would be betraying her principles You've betrayed our trust.
4a : to reveal unintentionally betray one's true feelings
b : show, indicate His best columns betray … the philosophical bent of his mind.— John Mason Brown
c : to disclose in violation of confidence betray a secret

intransitive verb

: to prove false

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Other Words from betray

betrayer \ bi-​ˈtrā-​ər How to pronounce betrayer (audio) , bē-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for betray

Synonyms

backstab, cross, double-cross, sell (out), two-time

Antonyms

stand by

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Choose the Right Synonym for betray

reveal, disclose, divulge, tell, betray mean to make known what has been or should be concealed. reveal may apply to supernatural or inspired revelation of truths beyond the range of ordinary human vision or reason. divine will as revealed in sacred writings disclose may imply a discovering but more often an imparting of information previously kept secret. candidates must disclose their financial assets divulge implies a disclosure involving some impropriety or breach of confidence. refused to divulge an anonymous source tell implies an imparting of necessary or useful information. told them what he had overheard betray implies a divulging that represents a breach of faith or an involuntary or unconscious disclosure. a blush that betrayed her embarrassment

Examples of betray in a Sentence

They betrayed their country by selling its secrets to other governments. She is very loyal and would never betray a friend. She betrayed her own people by supporting the enemy. She coughed, betraying her presence behind the door.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In interviews with Kaiser Health News, seniors around the country reported feeling betrayed, exposed and confused. Kaiser Health News, oregonlive.com, "Watch out for this Medicare scam involving DNA genetic tests," 3 Aug. 2019 The high beams and vast proportions betray the shop’s industrial past which today hosts a masterful curation of Celine, Comme de Garçons, Sies Marjan, and Dries van Noten. Vogue, "Jeffrey Kalinsky Celebrates 20 Years of His Meatpacking Shop With a Cocktail Party," 1 Aug. 2019 In interviews with Kaiser Health News, seniors around the country reported feeling betrayed, exposed and confused. NBC News, "Genetic-testing scam targets seniors and rips off Medicare," 31 July 2019 This dynamic betrays a fear among Democrats who are already thinking ahead to a high-stakes general election matchup with President Donald Trump. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Why isn’t Elizabeth Warren more popular in Massachusetts?," 30 July 2019 His work betrays his influences—such as Edvard Munch’s haunted faces, Weimar-era expressionist grotesquerie and the anthropomorphic dogs of Keith Haring—but never pastiches them. D.b., The Economist, "James Johnston, a veteran rock musician, has blossomed as an artist," 29 July 2019 Frieda, like Cindy, had also betrayed her friend and told federal investigators that Red was integral to the riot. Whitney Friedlander, CNN, "An 'Orange Is the New Black' refresher before the final season," 25 July 2019 The fallout of Weevil betraying Keith in the movie, and his subsequent return to gang life, leaves their relationship neutered the whole season. Rebecca Smith, refinery29.com, "Veronica Mars Goes To Hulu & Grows The F*ck Up," 15 July 2019 Unless there’s some backstory here that would excuse your husband of any moral debt to his sister or to the people who raised him, his dismissiveness betrays an utter failure of character. Carolyn Hax, The Mercury News, "Carolyn Hax: She’s at the end of her rope with the parents, and he says it’s ‘not his problem’," 7 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'betray.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of betray

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for betray

Middle English, from be- + trayen to betray, from Anglo-French trahir, from Latin tradere — more at traitor

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Statistics for betray

Last Updated

10 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for betray

The first known use of betray was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for betray

betray

verb

English Language Learners Definition of betray

: to give information about (a person, group, country, etc.) to an enemy
: to hurt (someone who trusts you, such as a friend or relative) by not giving help or by doing something morally wrong
: to show (something, such as a feeling or desire) without wanting or trying to

betray

verb
be·​tray | \ bi-ˈtrā How to pronounce betray (audio) \
betrayed; betraying

Kids Definition of betray

1 : to give over to an enemy by treason or treachery betray a fort
2 : to be unfaithful to betray a friend betrayed our trust
3 : to reveal or show without meaning to betray fear
4 : to tell in violation of a trust betray a secret

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More from Merriam-Webster on betray

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with betray

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for betray

Spanish Central: Translation of betray

Nglish: Translation of betray for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of betray for Arabic Speakers

Comments on betray

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